John Fighter (Adrian)
Ookla the Mok (Dave)
E.N. Lightenment (Carl)
Tobias the Awkward (Jed)
4 Hill giants manning the toll booth of a river lord
14 giant ants, boiling up into the road and attacking a tinker's wagon
7,000 gold in tolls collected by the giants
Scroll, Protection: Magic
With the goal of traveling to the tower of Ashur Ram, the party left the City of Shifters on foot, heading to the river south of the city. On the first day of travel, the group encountered a traveling magician whose wagon was under assault by giant ants. Riding to the rescue, Ookla managed to pull the wagon back from the edge of the ant tunnel, while Lotur, Chrystos, and John Fighter fought off the ants.
Tobias the Awkward lived up to his sobriquet, and let off a fireball that managed to slay most of the remaining ants, but also hit the four melee fighters. Lotur, John Fighter, and Ookla were all gravely wounded, so the party retreated to the closest town and spent several days recuperating and using the croll of regeneration to restore Lotur's burnt limbs. The wagon we rescued belonged to an itinerant tinker/MU who was grateful to be rescued from the ants, but even more frightened to be delivered into the hands of an avaricious mercenary company. He offered us a reward: choice of any one of the magic items he carried in his wagon (Plate +1, Scroll of Protection from Magic, potions of flying and giant control). The party choose the scroll, and miraculously decided to leave him the rest. While we rested we were joined by E. N. Lightenment. The cleric has replaced his arm with a mechanical facsimile made of iron, and impervious to fire.
The journey continued. The party purchased rafts and hired Oin the river guide to take us to Belltower. On the second day of travel we encountered a toll on the river consisting of four hill giants. The party opted to slay them outright and did so with no serious problem. This random violence came back to haunt us later on the third day, when we encountered Stephen of the Roc, a river lord who challenged us to a duel for having slain the giant (since they represented another river lord's right to collect tolls on the river). Seven party members choose to pay 100 gp each to pass, but Chrsytos and John Fighter both accepted the challenge and jousted with Stephen. Enough honor was preserved all around that Stephen both let us pass and consented to be an ally in the future, but Chrystos was so put out by the episode that he dosed the walls of Stephen's castle with stone-devouring termites imported from limbo. On questioning we discovered that Stephen has several friends and trading partners, but despises all Magic-Users (and possibly Clerics, "those who stink of too much study of books"). We asked him about Celerion, and he reported the rumor that Celerion and his Tarns had fallen foul of a white dragon.
The last day's journey to Belltower the party met and parleyed with a troop of followers of "Nuroc the Miracle Man." We learned little about Nuroc other than his followers were somewhat versed in the ways of adventuring and Nuroc is said to be possessed of healing powers but no castle.
A partial record of the carousing previous to this adventure, excesses and researches mainly conducted in and around the City of Shifters.
Ookla caroused 200gp and discovered a Weird Woman in the Vulcanium who could repair his boots of elvenkind for 2,500 gp. He also caroused 2,200 gp on a plan to control Thirster; towards this effort he spent another 2,200 gold for Caswyn's expenses and used two of his hoarded points to control Thirster. The next time Thirster encounters the undead, he will not freak out.
Caswyn caroused 800 gp on the efforts to change Thirster's fear of the undead, His partial success in this effort left him with the realization that he needs to adorn himself in much the same way that Thirster desires rich scabbards. He spent the 2,200 fee given him by Ookla on adornment and vestments, and caroused and additional 1,200 gp on the vicarage. In the future, he has pledged to spend more on upkeep of his holdings than would ordinarily be called for, so as to represent the splendor of Apollo.
Orb caroused 600gp to complete his recipe for a Cloak of Displacement, and can now make one for the price of 11,500. He needs to gather the money to do so. He caroused another 2000 gp in process of creating a mace of rusting using parts of a previously slain rust monster.
Chrystos caroused 400gp in order to locate another giant bee, paying 3000 gp for this new possession. He also spent 5000 to buy a hive of stone eating termites sufficient to re-fill a small jar of termites once per week. He further caroused 200gp in contacting Ashur Ram to request a mirror allowing for remote communication with Ontussa. Ashur Ram's projected image will supply such a device for 25,000 gold, less 5,000 for each of five conditions: the owner will act to keep Ontussa imprisoned; the owner will prevent any harm to Ashur Ram; the owner will only purchase magical wares from Ashur Ram; the owner will keep away from the Ninth Menegril; the owner will bear the mirror unobscured on their chest. Chrsytos, in a rare act of wisdom, did not purchase the device.
Tobias caroused 200gp to further research on a spell that allows for the perambulation of a mass of coinage. He further caroused for 8,000gp (but gaining no XP) and successfully completed researching the spell with a lucky roll. It is a third level spell and creates an unseen servant-like creature from up to 10,000 coins.
E.N. Lightenment caroused 1800 gp to locate a mechanical replacement arm, and spent a further 7,500 to purchase it from a magister of the Vulcanium. The arm is made of iron and is impervious to fire. He also spent time transcribing several of the party's scrolls into clerical prayer books, assuring future access to the spells Stone Shape, Khermal's Puissant Color of Mystical Magic, and Command.
John Fighter caroused 1000gp anointing his son as future ruler of the wereboar nation. He also caroused 2000 gp to establish a temple of the skyfather in the City of Shifters. While this secured the alliance of an ancient Thracian spirit capable of acting as an ablative protection vs. energy drain, this act was seen as an act of necromancy, and John's reputation is somewhat tarnished.
Jarri the Stonebeard caroused 600gp to hire (or re-hire) more of a force of retainers. He further caroused 1000gp, sending minstrels and bards across the land to sing the praises of Jarri, savior of the lands under giant occupation. While the minstrels sang and spread his story across the known lands, this seems to have attracted the ire of another adventuring group also active against the giants.
Xeno caroused 200 gp to assemble a list of known libraries and had a partial success: he concealed his research from Zorlak's assassin-librarians, but is not certain of how complete it is. In addition to the known libraries of the Ninth Menegril, Zorlac, he also heard of libraries at the Girl's School in the City of Shifters, and the Citadel of Fire. He caroused a further 1,800 towards comprehension of a spell we found in the house of Patariki Van: The Lordly Charm of the Wise Returners. This third-level spell teleports all the belongings of the caster and caster's companions within 10' to a place of safety for future retrieval. The now-naked companions may then proceed home unencumbered.
Sans Sobriquet journeyed to the Ninth Menegril, bribing and cajoling his way into an audience by carousing 1,800 gp, hoping to inquire after the location of magical armor. His audience was a disaster however, as a projected eidolon of Ashur Ram appeared, insisting that the Menegril was not a good source of magical items. The two mages bickered until the eidolon was banished, and Sans was roundly criticized for attracting Astral spam-mail. He further inquired in limbo about magical armor, carousing another 2,200 gold, and was able to discreetly learn about where to obtain armor, but it was not the most pertinent information.